Most people decide to go on a diet and immediately eliminate carbohydrates. However, while white bread, white pasta, and baked goods with white refined flour might sabotage, your weight loss efforts, all carbs can’t be painted with the same red brush. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat.
In fact, if you cut carbs completely out of your diet, sure you’d be eliminating many starchy foods, but you’d also be eliminating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, resulting in serious food cravings that would send you on a supersized binge at the nearest drive-thru burger joint.
Carbohydrates are essential for energy and brain function, and if you consume the following ten nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carbs, you’ll stay fueled, lose weight, and stay full all day long.
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which means that it dissolves slowly after you eating, keeping you sustained for much longer than, say, crispy rice cereal. Plus, food studies link oatmeal to blasting visceral fat, which is the hard to combat fat that sits around your mid-section and your vital organs (i.e., your heart).
2. Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat, or more precisely, cracked wheat, is a tad time-consuming to prepare—it needs to be soaked in hot water before boiling. However, the effort to make up a batch for a week of dinners will seem miniscule when you consider that this fiber-rich grain packs 5-grams of slow-burning fiber in just a half cup!
Beans, beans are good for your heart! And yes, the more you eat; the more regular your digestive system will function, which aids greatly in weight loss. Plus, in addition to being high in fiber, beans also pack valuable amounts of protein and iron to fuel your workouts.
4. Wheat Berries
Wheat berries are getting a lot more attention lately. Once relegated to vegetarians and health food aficionados, these mini kernels of whole wheat pack plenty of fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins, which help the transfer food into energy and boost metabolic rate (calorie to fuel production).
Quinoa isn’t considered a “super food” without merit. Quinoa is a super protein, meaning it contains the essential amino acids needed to build lean muscle and rev up your metabolic rate (the speed at which you burn calories). So in addition to eating a grain that’s packed with protein, quinoa doesn’t contain the harmful fat that meat does.
You probably didn’t think vegetables were in the carbohydrate category when you ousted them from your diet plans. However, these colorful carbohydrates contain the essential fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to fight free radical damage—so weight gain, cancer fighters, and many other harmful diseases.
7. Whole-Grain Pasta
Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pasta ever again. Just swap that starchy white linguine for a hearty whole-grain pasta dishes for dinner—which is packed with fiber so you don’t have to eat as much to fill up and stay that way for hours following your meal.
8. Brown Rice
If you want to feel full longer and burn fat at the same time, opt for brown rice instead of white rice the next time you make a stir-fry or order sushi. Why? Unrefined brown rice is jam-packed with slow-burning fiber, as well as many essential vitamins and minerals that are absent in its white counterpart.
Do you suffer from a mid-afternoon snack attack? What do you reach for—a cookie or a nice barley salad? Well, studies show that if you opt for a complex carbohydrate, like barley, you’ll not only satisfy your hunger cravings; you’ll prevent future blood sugar spikes that cause you to binge eat and crave sugar, starch, and trans fats.
Like veggies, fruits are often overlooked in the carbohydrate category. However, these naturally sweet, healthy carbs are rich in fiber, as well as a plethora of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So they’re healthy and they satisfy those sugar cravings—minus the empty calories.